Home Is Where the Demolition Is…

Winter is a cherished season for me; though I appreciate that many people don’t like the cold weather. As I have a warm place to hold up, I don’t mind the cold. It gives me yet another good reason to stay home and huddle up with my hobbies, interests, and distractions…including my cat, Tabby. She appreciates me being home to spend time with her, of course. During the past seven years, my home has been the creative nexus for my novel writing; a place where my ideas have taken root and come to fruition. Add one more reason why my home is truly my castle…my fortress of solitude…the place where stay-cation dreams are realized.

It’s because I value my home so much – and the wonderful memories within – that I was given pause upon reading that famed science fiction author Ray Bradbury’s house is being demolished. You can read the complete article HERE. Granted, the historic 1937-era Cheviot Hills house, located in Los Angeles, California, had a much more dated sort of layout and design than contemporary home buyers prefer to live in. Yet, it was the nostalgic location where “dreams were made” and creative visions were brought to life for generations of readers and fans. The home was interspersed with bookshelves, particularly the den where the room was lined with a Hodge-podge of rickety shelving that held the multitudes of books that Mr. Bradbury collected. If you click on the link that I provided above, at the lower portion of the article, there’s a nice 12-shot slideshow of photos taken from the interior of the house that illustrate what I’m referring to. There’s also a six-image slideshow at the top of the article displaying the external demolition.

Suffice to say, the demolition of the historic house made me feel momentarily glum.

Then I considered a number of things surrounding the event. For one, when the house was sold following Mr. Bradbury’s in 2012, the personal belongings and all of his memorabilia contained therein was removed by the family, leaving only the shell of where a famous author once called home. Essentially, it was the skeletal remains of a former complete entity. Second, there’s no magical creative dust that remains in Mr. Bradbury’s former study that future tenants could absorb to become great writers themselves. It was Ray himself that brought the magic to the room and into reality; the room was merely the setting for magic to occur. In that sense, and with consumerism being what it is, there’s little reason why a dated-looking home would harbor much intrigue for the average home buyer today. Instead, the now-demolished site will serve as the birthplace for a modern, more energy-efficient dwelling with mass curb appeal.

However, Americans have a long-standing tradition of attempting to preserve locations where famous people either grew up or resided in for much of their lives. It made me wonder: why didn’t Mr. Bradbury’s home make the grade for historic significance? He lived in that home for more than 50 years leading up to his death. I don’t believe that George Washington lived in Mount Vernon for more than 50 years before he died. Okay, that’s quite a stretch to compare Ray Bradbury to George Washington, but do you see where my train of thought is headed? Anyway, perhaps people are merely too sensitive about such topics.

Fortunately, for those who value nostalgia and preservation of great settings, materials and artifacts from Mr. Bradbury’s home office have been donated to The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies in Indiana, and there’s an initiative in play to re-create the author’s den as it appeared in the mid-1960s. That’s something that I might have to make a trip to Indiana for in the future.